Engineered orthogonal quorum sensing systems for synthetic gene regulation in escherichia coli

Stefan J. Tekel, Christina L. Smith, Brianna Lopez, Amber Mani, Christopher Connot, Xylaan Livingstone, Karmella A. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Gene regulators that are controlled by membrane-permeable compounds called homoserine lactones (HSLs) have become popular tools for building synthetic gene networks that coordinate behaviors across populations of engineered bacteria. Synthetic HSL-signaling systems are derived from natural DNA and protein elements from microbial quorum signaling pathways. Crosstalk, where a single HSL can activate multiple regulators, can lead to faults in networks composed of parallel signaling pathways. Here, we report an investigation of quorum sensing components to identify synthetic pathways that exhibit little to no crosstalk in liquid and solid cultures. In previous work, we characterized the response of a single regulator (LuxR) to 10 distinct HSL-synthase enzymes. Our current study determined the responses of five different regulators (LuxR, LasR, TraR, BjaR, and AubR) to the same set of synthases. We identified two sets of orthogonal synthase-regulator pairs (BjaI/BjaR + EsaI/TraR and LasI/LasR + EsaI/TraR) that show little to no crosstalk when they are expressed in Escherichia coli BL21. These results expand the toolbox of characterized components for engineering microbial communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number80
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 2019


  • Biosensor
  • Gene circuit
  • Homoserine lactone
  • Quorum sensing
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineered orthogonal quorum sensing systems for synthetic gene regulation in escherichia coli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this